Thursday, May 19, 2005

Is Balanced Reporting Too Much to Ask?

I'm paying attention to the tussle Pres. Bush and the Senate Democrats are in regarding the appointment of judges and the filibuster rules surrounding this debate. Largely, I think the D's are failing to recognize that they're in the minority--which means they haven't quite accepted that they're going to lose on many more issues than they win. So they obstruct. After the experience of Sen. Daschle, you might think they'd learn something, but I digress.

However, today's Arizona Republic has a typically unbalanced analysis of what's going on. A few examples needing to be fisked....

Both political parties opened a historic showdown over judicial nominations Wednesday while the public worried that Congress could be distracted from more tangible issues such as gas prices and Social Security.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think that Congress will ever have much influence on gas prices. The market will rule. In this case (as I understand things), the suppliers have tapped out most of the easily-refineable crude sources, refining capability has not grown over the years (there's not much money in refining), and most importantly, demand from China and India has spiked. So yeah--gas prices will go up. From what I remember from Econ 101, this increased demand will either spur action to find more supplies or provide an incentive to develop alternative energy sources. Congress doesn't have much to do here. Oh--and Social Security? A time-bomb that nobody is willing to defuse. Fussing about judicial nominees is exactly what Congress ought to be doing.

Few strategists in either party expect the specific arguments over the GOP's bid to thwart Senate filibusters to sway many voters in the 2006 elections. But many analysts believe the conflict could increase and solidify public antagonism toward Washington surfacing in polls, especially if the dispute deepens Capitol Hill's partisan acrimony and impedes action on issues more tangible to voters.

So which is it? Is this filibuster debate going to fail to influence voters in 2006, or will antagonism increase and make this debate central to the mid-term elections? And you know what? I'm getting tired of the qualifiers "Few strategists" and "many analysts". Are we talking about someone who gets paid to craft or analyze strategy or are we talking about whomever happened to show up around the water cooler that morning? This paragraph tells me nothing.

They've buried the money paragraph...

The key political question is whether the public disenchantment would hurt the parties equally or the GOP more, because it holds the majority and is seeking the rule change on judges.
So it will either hurt both parties equally or the GOP more. Those are the two choices. It apparantly isn't possible that the Dem's could be hurt here. The bias from this reporting/analysis is absolutely screaming.

And as icing on the cake...

Both sides step into this fight visibly bruised by recent events. Since last year's election, the news in Washington has been dominated by a Bush drive to restructure Social Security that has generated majority opposition in polls; the congressional intervention in the case of a brain-damaged Florida woman, Terri Schiavo, which provoked a sharp backlash in public opinion surveys; the ethics charges swirling around House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas; and the escalating acrimony over Democratic efforts to block some of Bush's most controversial judicial appointments through the filibuster.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think Bush's attempt at reforming/saving Social Security has failed. Sure, the D's have confused the issues, but I don't think we're done yet. I do agree that Congressional involvement in the Schiavo case was misplaced, but I don't think there will be a lasting effect from it. And please. Tom DeLay? While he's probably not exactly a saint, the D's are engaging in nothing more than a witchhunt here precisely because he's been effective against them. And finally in the last sentence, we get an example of something the D's might be doing which the analysts here think will hurt them. More bias.

I really don't expect fully balanced reporting from the Arizona Republic or other MSM sources, but after the success of alternative news sources--internet, talk-radio, Fox News Channel--you'd think the providers of MSM would begin to wonder why their market share was continuing to decline. That their lefty worldview has so poisoned their product just escapes them.

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